LibreOffice 7.6 is available to download.
This update lands exactly on schedule, some 6 months after the LibreOffice 7.5 release (which included visual tweaks, major PDF export enhancements, and other changes). LibreOffice 7.6 sees its devs build out further to deliver fixes, finesse, and a decent drop of new features.
Keen to learn more? I know you are, so let’s dive in!
LibreOffice 7.6: New features
Before we dive in, a note on expectations via The Document Foundation.
See, LibreOffice has been under constant development for 12 years (and it’s built-off a codebase older than that). So, lower-level work aside, “it is increasingly difficult to develop entirely new features, so most of them are refinements or improvements of existing ones.”
I’m sure they could build new, ever-more niche features for the sake of them, but this would divert and dilute their tight resources (if compared to Goliaths like Microsoft Office and Apple) from making the changes, refinements, and optimisations that have a greater or more immediate impact.
So what is new?
LibreOffice 7.6 lets you use zoom gestures from touchpads in the main view of every app. It also supports document themes (including the import and export of theme definitions for ODF and OOXML documents).
On the fonts front, regular users of right-to-left scripts, CJK and other Asian alphabets will notice the app is a LOT better at handling these.
Writer gains a new ‘Page Number Wizard’ in the
Insert menu to make inserting the page number in a header or footer (or both) an easier affair.
It’s now possible to edit ‘Bibliography’ from a bibliography table; and there’s ‘phrase checking’ enabled for multi-word dictionary items for compatible dictionaries.
The ‘Paragraph Style’ dropdown in the format toolbar now shows a list of styles used in the current document at the top and not a list of all available styles. Additionally, it’s now possible to generate ‘Tables of Figures’ based on on paragraph styles – a real time saver, that.
Other changes include initial citation handling; moving the ‘Accessibility Check’ to the sidebar; keyboard navigation through forms (with the
tab key circling back through controls/fields); and more options for proofreading.
Calc supports “?” number format for integer digits on export to ODF; spreadsheets copied to a different document keep their user-defined print range; and there’s a new compact layout for pivot tables.
Drawing styles for shapes and comments is baked in, and includes a dedicated style for comments that, to quote TDF, “makes it possible to customize the default look and text formatting of new comments”. Sounds useful.
Impress picks up a new navigation panel for switching slides when viewing presentations; allows objects to be listed in front-to-back order in the navigator (showing the top-most object at the top of the list); and makes the auto-fitting text scaling algorithm “work in a way similar to MS Office”.
Using PDFium import? It now supports free text annotations, while export supports ink, free text and polygon/polyline annotations.
For more details on these and other changes see the official LibreOffice 7.6 release notes.
Microsoft Office Compatibility Fixes
Shiny new features aside, LibreOffice 7.6 also ships a sizeable set of improvements aimed squarely at those editing and sharing documents with other Microsoft Office users, i.e. interoperability — an important part of any modern productivity suite’s itinerary.
- Fixes for frames in DOCX files
- Character properties of DOCX paragraph markers stored in ODT files
- Handling improvements for multi-page floating tables
- Fixed export of conditionally formatted cell border colours to XLSX.
All welcome changes.
New version number incoming
Finally (though this isn’t strictly a feature unless, like me, you struggle with numbers) this is the last
version of LibreOffice that will use the ‘historical release numbering scheme’ of first digit for release cycle,second digit for major release.
Future release will adopt calendar based release numbers. Thus the next LibreOffice release will be LibreOffice 2024.02 as it’s due out in February 2024.
Download LibreOffice 7.6
LibreOffice 7.6 is available to download for Windows, macOS (this version requires macOS 10.15 or newer) and Linux from the LibreOffice website.
Ubuntu users can get this update the LibreOffice PPA, from Flathub, Canonical’s Snap Store, or from the AUR and other places (if using something like DistroBox) — though none of these has been updated with the 7.6 release at the time I write this — this should change soon, so feel free to go and check).